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Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Greater Fire Devours the Lesser Flame

Where am I hiding? Where am right now? I’ll tell you. I trust you; you won’t report me to the Politzie. You won’t let the Longarm Gendarmes or the Sternodogs find me. So I’ll tell you: I’m in the church basement where it’s quiet and safe. Relatively safe. I’m in the church basement waiting for the end. But not in the fellowship hall off of the kitchen where the AA and grief support groups meet to share their bitter stories and to drink bitter coffee in unmatched ceramic mugs.

I’m in the far classroom down the hall, past the restrooms and the nursery. The last classroom – the one that was converted in the late 70s to a pottery room for the ladies' group. They bought a kiln and everything. The craze past and they all lost interest in the fad by 1983 but the kiln’s still here along with a shelf full of ceramic cats and clowns and curly headed children Most of them are still unpainted, dull beige and dusty.

Another shelf in this forgotten room is stuffed with old hymnals and an incomplete set of church encyclopedias. Volume N – P is missing; say goodbye to Neo-Orthodoxy, Nestorians, Ontological Arguments, Opus Dei, Pelagius, and the Protestant Reformation, I suppose. Not that any of that matters now. There’s a flannelgraph board on an easel propped up against the shelf. Here’s Jesus on a boat and Peter, James, and John with a net full of fish. Here’s a donkey and a man with a sword and a woman who appears to be swooning or fainting. I don’t know what story this is.

I locked the door when I snuck in here, and jammed a metal folding chair underneath the doorknob, just in case. It probably won’t stop them if they discover me down here. They’ll burst through the door,no doubt. It’s only thin plywood but I do what little I can. It’s all I can do.

I think someone is in the sanctuary upstairs. Lots of them maybe, toppling the pews and smashing the stained glass windows. I hear them hooting and laughing. The crash and the clatter is horrific. But even their noise hides me. I’m down here in the basement, whistling in the dark, whistling a snake charm, a cat call.

I can wait a while longer. I have to. If I wait and if I’m very quiet I can survive even this. They’ll get bored with their mindless vandalism and destruction and move on to something else. Maybe they’ll go drag-racing past the elementary schools again. They’ll leave and I’ll be safe. Relatively safe.  But the rain will get in through the windows they’ve broken. The rain and the seven thunders. Thundersong will reverberate in the high ceilinged sanctuary. Thunder always strikes when everything seems fine. And when the seven thunders had spoken, I tried to copy down what I heard them say. But a Voice out of heaven, said, "Seal up what the seven thunders have spoken; do not write them."

There’s a cat in here somewhere too. He’s got a way in and out through a broken cinderblock, a hole that leads into the boiler room. He squeezes in every half hour or so to brush his head against my leg and to stare at the Seraph in the corner. Ignore the illustrations in the church encyclopedias – angels are not gloriously beautiful humans. Some aren’t even humanoid. The Seraphs are serpentine and fiery, studded with wings and eyes. Burning agents of the divine fire. Twisting messengers of the eternal sibilant.

The Seraph in the corner hisses at me, and when he’s here, at the cat as well. It’s a blue flame hiss, like a gas leak. But there’s no threat in it. It’s not dangerous, I think. At least not to me. The blue-fire sternodogs should be afraid, though. This thing will burn them alive. The greater fire devours the lesser flame.

The Right Government™ won’t find me here, not if I’m quiet and if I can wait out the vandals and the storm. They won’t find me as long as you keep quiet. You can’t tell them anything. If you do I’m dead. The seraph, think, is here for something else, not for me. Its mission does not concern me and, like the thunders, I should say no more of it. So I wait. I wait for the storm to pass and the leather-miscreants in the chapel to leave. Then I will pull the chair away from the knob and unlock the door and make my up the stairs.  I will venture back into the world to see what damage has been done.

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Muted Hosannas Muted Hosannas
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